Italy Fast Facts

Offida, Italy

Population: 62,007,540

Capital City: Rome

Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Time Zone: GMT+1

Language: Italian

Country Code: 39

Coastline: 7,600km

Live "La Dolce Vita" in Sunny Italy

Italy has a staggering amount to offer travelers…and residents. Romantic cities, timeless hill towns, snowy mountains, idyllic islands, vineyard-covered countryside, and a rivetingly beautiful coastline. Plus, outside the major cities, homes start at a mere $50,000—or less.

Expats in Italy say they love not only the art, culture, impressive architecture, world-renowned food, and easy access to the rest of Europe, but also the slower pace of life and the culture that prioritizes family and friends over work and to-do lists.

This is the very definition of the sweet life. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love, taking the time to enjoy even the simplest things—a delicate zucchini blossom, a well-made cup of coffee, the feeling of sand between your toes—and prioritizing the important things in life.

A Slower, Simpler Italian Way of Life

Retirees report that this cultural attitude means the pace of life is slower in Italy, especially outside the main cities. They talk about long coffee breaks with Italian friends and passeggiata (strolls) through the town in the evening. One couple says that they no longer have alarm clocks in their home. Another couple adds that happiness just seems more important to the Italians.

A Surprisingly Affordable Lifestyle

These same expats report that their simpler lives in Italy come with a lower price tag than they would have expected.

In lesser-known, beautiful countryside Le Marche, one couple says their expenses are 80% cheaper than their previous life in New York. In sunny southern Calabria, another expat says a cup of coffee costs just 90 cents, a multi-course meal runs about $34 per person, and health insurance for the entire year is covered by about $230. And in Umbria—Tuscany’s pretty neighbor—one of our correspondents spent less than $2,000 in living expenses per month.

The Italian Visas That Make a Move to Italy Possible

Life in Italy sounds pretty nice…so the next question most people have is: can I do it? Is it legally and logistically possible to make the move?

And the answer is yes.

Italy offers a variety of visas for non-Italians who would like to live in the country. The one most retirees apply for is the elective residence visa, which is designed for retirees and other people who do not need to take a job in Italy. For this, you’ll need proof of financial means, a rental agreement or deed in Italy, and proof of medical insurance that covers you there. The key to this visa is proving that you don’t need to work.

And if you have Italian ancestry, you may be in even better shape. If you have a parent, grandparent, or even great-grandparent born in Italy, you may be eligible for dual citizenship.

In other words, if you’re dreaming about a move to Italy, your dream just might be more possible than you ever imagined.

From the Archives of Italy

Italy Itinerary: A Journey Through Southern Italy

Italy Itinerary: A Journey Through Southern Italy

Editors Choice
By |
December 20, 2019

When my husband, Keith and I were invited to a wedding on the beach in Puglia, Italy—Margherita di Savoia, to be exact—we decided to make a road trip out of it. Our trip was an ambitious undertaking, including travel from Portugal, through Spain and France, visiting 23 cities in 21 days. But my aim is not to exhaust but entice you to explore...

How We Built an Award-Winning Olive Oil Business in Tuscany

How We Built an Award-Winning Olive Oil Business in Tuscany

Tania and Keith Von Barkenhagen never meant to move to Italy. The California couple thought they'd spend a year, and then go back to southern California—Keith to his IT career and Tania to managing small businesses. That was 14 years ago, and their lives and jobs have evolved a lot since then.

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse in Palermo, Italy

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse in Palermo, Italy

The hodgepodge of flavors you'll find in Palermo's many markets speaks to the many cultures that have occupied the city over the millennia...Phoenicians traders, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the French, and the Aragonese, to name a few.